Ambulances battle road conditions when responding to - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Ambulances battle road conditions when responding to emergencies

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To prepare for the slick and snowy conditions EMTs and paramedics must winterize their vehicles. To prepare for the slick and snowy conditions EMTs and paramedics must winterize their vehicles.

Bad weather can be a challenge to drivers, especially those responding to emergencies. 

"The more people are on the roads the more it causes the EMS system to be on the roads putting more people at risk," said Ron Wentz, a paramedic with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority.

However, emergencies don't stop when the weather worsens and neither can first responders.

To prepare for the slick and snowy conditions EMTs and paramedics must winterize their vehicles. This includes stocking the ambulances full of blankets, IV warmers, warming packs and putting chains on the vehicle's tires.

"They'll help in some of the slick conditions and some of the ice stuff but they're not a fix all it's still dangerous out there," said Wentz.

In six hours KCEAA EMS received 42 medical transportation calls. These calls included rides to and from dialysis as well as other treatment services. KCEAA EMS also received 49 emergency calls, most of which were cardiac related.

"People get outside to where they are not used to say shoveling snow or being out. The next thing you know it's a cause for a heart attack, shortness of breath," said Ben Martin, a KCEAA paramedic.

And that's the call we got when 13 News rode along with the KCEAA.

According to ambulance dispatch, a man living up a hollow in Eden's Fork was experiencing a shortness of breath. However, the hill he lived upon was too steep and covered with snow. The ambulance could not make it up.

The local fire department had to step in, using it's 4-wheeler to bring the paramedic to the patient and transport the patient to the ambulance.

"We work hand in hand. We know each other. It's one big team. That's what our goal is to work together and get the best result for the patient," said Patrick Clark of the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department.